Chronic Illness & Pain: Why get out of bed?

This morning I woke as usual, with a headache on the right side of my face. It is like this every morning. Some days the headache is more, but usually it is the same. Lying in bed I feel almost normal. I don’t feel that my legs don’t work or that my energy levels are poor. All I feel is a headache. It is so tempting to just stay in bed and accept that as my life.

If I gave into this temptation, what would happen? For the first few days it would seem fantastic. After a while I would notice that the strength in my lower limbs has become less. Mentally I would have given in. After the euphoria I am sure I would spiral into a deep depression. The darker the days the harder it would be to bring in the light.

Chronic Illness & Pain: Why get out of bed?
Chronic Illness & Pain: Why get out of bed?

Despite the pain, and accepting that my walking will be poor, I get out of bed. Making this effort I start my day and try to find something I can be grateful for and that gives me motivation. 

My Focus

My life and focus is to keep myself as healthy as possible. Every day I manage the food I eat, the exercise I take and the steps towards improving my mental health. Because of the fatigue, pain and lost mobility, this takes all of my day. In contrast somebody who is healthy doesn’t even consider what goes into their mouth, or how their legs move, or if their head is in a good place. It’s all just happens by reflex.

Most people might have temporary affliction that causes them to look at their diet, or go back to the gym. They might even start mindfulness practice. They would fit this into their day.

These three things are my day.

Why me?

Multiple sclerosis is not an illness I chose, it happened. There is a few factors that might have contributed to it such as my genetics, lack of Vitamin D or the Epstein Barr virus. I had 10 years when I had no symptoms, but since my accident 4.5 years ago I have had this constant headache and my multiple sclerosis has gone from benign, with no symptoms, to secondary progressive MS. This has been a slow but constant decline. No longer can I work, or walk. I have lost these.

It would be easy for me to despair and lose all reason for living. There are days when I feel like that. It is like there is no light.

Why I get out of bed

By getting out of bed each morning and going downstairs to eat my breakfast I actively decide that I won’t let pain or lost mobility prevent me from living my life. It is an active choice. During the day I climb the stairs to exercise the leg that doesn’t want to work. I open my computer and write even though it makes the pain in my head worse. Every week I go to the pool and swim though fatigue is telling me don’t go there. My body is telling me not to live, but I have ignored it.

My body is telling me a lie. If I listened to it 100% my walking would disappear. This misdirection would cloud my will to live.

Don’t get me wrong the things I do will not cure me. My illness is permanent. It will not disappear unless some magic wand finds the way to repair the damage that has happened inside my body. My hope is by fighting against what my body is telling me I have turned the adversity into an asset. This battle happens every moment of every day.

Tomorrow I will wake up and the pain will still be there and yes I will still get out of bed and start the day again.

I am stronger than this illness.
I have the courage to face the pain.
I have the will to overcome despair.

4 thoughts on “Chronic Illness & Pain: Why get out of bed?”

  1. Pingback: Attending To The Issues That Are Impacting Your Mental Health - A 30 Minute Life

  2. Love this Robert! We do, don’t we? We just have to get on with it. But this getting on with is what makes us strong MSers. Keep going ?? xx

  3. Great post. You are an inspiration. Sometimes just getting out of bed can be a huge struggle. So it’s great to read about finding purpose and motivation. ~Stacey

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